President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking emergency powers to reflate the economy. The emergency powers are to last for one year.
The objectives of the action-plan on the economy, which is in recession, include shoring up the value of the naira, creation of more jobs, boosting of foreign reserves, reviving the manufacturing sector and improving power.
Government sources said the decision to seek emergency powers for the President was based on a proposal from the economic team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The team reviewed the various policies so far introduced and how they have affected the economy.
The economic team, it was learnt, gauged the mood of the polity and decided that unless there is an urgency which some of the extant laws will not permit, “the recession may be longer than expected and Nigerians will not get the desired respite, which is the goal of this government”.
An executive bill titled: “Emergency Economic Stabilisation Bill 2016” is to be presented to the National Assembly when the Senate and the House of Representatives resume from vacation on September 12.
In the bill, the executive will be asking for the President to be given sweeping powers to set aside some extant laws and use executive orders to roll out an economic recovery package within the next one year.
Buhari will be seeking powers to:
– abridge the procurement process to support stimulus spending on critical sectors of the economy;
– make orders to favour local contractors/suppliers in contract awards;
– abridge the process of sale or lease of government assets to generate revenue;
– allow virement of budgetary allocation to projects that are urgent, without going back to the National Assembly.
– amend certain laws, such as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, so that states that cannot access their cash trapped in the accounts of the commission because they cannot meet the counterpart funding, can do so; and
– to embark on radical reforms in visa issuance at Nigeria’s consular offices and on arrival in the country and to compel some agencies of government like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the National Agency for Foods Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others to improve on their turn around operation time for the benefit of business.